“Moscoviae seu Russiae Magnae Generalis Tabula quâ Lapponia, Norvegia Suecia, Dania, Polonia, Maximaeque partes Germaniae, Tartariae, Turcici Imperii, aliaeque Regiones adjacentes simul ostenduntur; de novo correcta et edita“. Copper engraving published by Nicolaes Visscher II as part of his “Atlas Minor“ after 1681. Coloured by a later hand. Size: 41,5 x 52,5 cm.
The Visscher publishing house emerged when Claes Jansz. Visscher began decorating the maps of Willem Blaeu and Jodocus Hondius around 1608. The enterprise would grow into one of the most significant publishers of maps, plans, town views, and prints under his son Nicolaes I and grandson Nicolaes II (1649-1702).
Visscher’s Atlas Minor was not as small as similarly named atlases of that time. The edition was in folio format and contained between 60 and 150 maps. Nicolaes II gained access to more maps of his own production over time, becoming less reliant on the earlier works of his father and grandfather. Outdated Visscher maps were auctioned off in 1684.
The knowledge about Russia in the 17th century traces back to Isaac Massa (1585-1643?), a Haarlem grain merchant and the first Dutch diplomat to the Kremlin. Massa collected data from Russian explorers, from which he created various maps. Massa’s depiction of the Siberian coast marked a significant leap forward in geographical knowledge and remained the sole map of the area for decades. The map was copied by Dutch publishers like Mercator, Hondius, Janssonius, and Blaeu.